Monthly Archives: April 2013

Getting wild with chicken soup

Chicken Tinola with Kawakawa leaves

Canon 600D, ISO 200, 1/5 sec, f/3.5, 24-70mm

HAVE YOU EVER EATEN something that made you happy? I don’t mean ‘happy’ in a conventional way, but ‘happy’ in a wild sort of way. Well, I have. And it’s not illegal!

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Making authentic vegetable tempura – the Wabi-sabi way

Authentic vegetable tempura

Canon 600D, ISO 3200, 1/400 sec, f/2.8, 24-70mm

“WABI-SABI is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly.” ~ Wabi-sabi: The Art of Imperfection.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that has no direct English translation. It is a concept, an ideal, a philosophy, an art. Try asking a Japanese about ‘wabi-sabi’ and they would know instantly what it is but would also tell you that it is difficult to explain. Not that I asked my Japanese friend Mari to explain what ‘wabi-sabi’ is (She knows it is about Japanese art, which is right too.) I asked her more about how to cook tempura the right way. But I’ll get to that later. This blog is, after all, a food photography blog.

I picked up the wabi-sabi wisdom from my pottery class instructor. I told her I wanted to make imperfect and odd-shaped props for food photography. She explained the concept of Wabi-sabi and that got me thinking about how it can also be applied to food, photography and everyday life. It is about appreciating things that are simple and unpretentious. It is about embracing happy accidents. It strikes a chord with me. My American boyfriend will agree. I want to learn more about wabi-sabi.

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Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first!

Empty plate

Canon 600D, ISO 400, 1/60 sec, f/2.8, 24-70mm

“Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first, and it is often worth doing poorly several times until you master it.” ~ Brian Tracy

DISASTER in the kitchen! No, I’m not talking about the time I almost burned the house while frying tofu. This is about two failed attempts at cooking experiments involving flour and pastry (again).

First I tried to make vegetable tempura from supermarket bought tempura mix and dark beer. I sought advice from my Japanese friend who at one time brought a platter of vegetable tempura to a party. It was a hit and I wanted to recreate it.  A tablespoon of batter for each tempura and a pair of chopsticks are the secret weapon, she said. I missed to ask her about the rest. I ended up with  tempura that were soggy outside and half-cooked inside. The plate for the photo shoot remained empty.

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Lebanese couscous with mussels parsley pesto

Lebanese couscous with mussels parsley pesto

Canon 600D, ISO 3200, 1/320 sec, f/3.5, 24-70mm

DISCLAIMER: This is not a Lebanese recipe. I just happen to be out of noodles and all I have in my cupboard (that I can use as a substitute) is a bag of couscous made in Lebanon. After googling it, I learned that these pearly grains are called Maftoul. I cooked them like I would cook noodles but it took longer to get the desired al dente texture.

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